Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Big Sky's Roman Cobb Looks So Familiar

The new third season of the ABC series "Big Sky" focuses on the Dewell & Hoyt private detectives' search for a missing backpacker in Montana, as well as for the "Bleeding Heart Killer." As Jenny (Katheryn Winnick), Cassie (Kylie Bunbury), and Beau (Jensen Ackles) go through the Blaire Lucan case, they discover one of the files for the cold case is missing. The detectives seek retired cop Roman Cobb for questioning, as he was the original police officer on the crime scene.

Cobb tells the trio that the missing suspect file is for Joe Walker (Daniel di Tomasso), Blaire's teenage boyfriend at the time. Walker is the son of the city commissioner, and Cobb figured the file might disappear due to the commissioner's status and reputation. The detectives vow to look into this.

The actor who plays Cobb has nearly 200 IMDb credits, including a Stanley Kubrick film, a famous TV movie, and much more. Here are some of the places you might have seen him.

He's Simon Haley on Roots: The Next Generations

Dorian Harewood has built up a massive filmography over his acting career, but he originally started out in musical theater (via TCM). It was legendary actress Bette Davis who encouraged him to do more dramatic performances when they worked on a stage musical together in 1974.

This fueled his ambition, and he turned to the small screen for more opportunities. Harewood told The Journal Herald, "I preferred to do the [sic] television because television is a much more widely-exposed medium." The actor's first screen credit was playing Jama in two episodes of the 1975 "Swiss Family Robinson" series.

He continued to receive work, including a feature film debut in "Sparkle" and guest appearances on "Kojak" and "Columbo." But his first major role was on the 1979 ABC mini-series "Roots: The Next Generations." The actor plays Simon Haley, author Alex Haley's (James Earl Jones) father, over several decades and seven episodes, in a performance that takes the actor from youth to bitter old age.

It was a difficult task, but The Journal Herald noted in the interview that "as Dorian Harewood talks about Roots, affection and pride warm his voice." It helps that he also thought the production was "brilliant."

Harewood took on The Jesse Owens Story

Dorian Harewood was a cast member of several short-lived television series, including "Strike Force" and "Trauma Center," but unfortunately, none of them lasted long. His biggest claim to fame for some time would be playing a legendary athlete on the TV mini-series "The Jesse Owens Story."

The two-parter depicts Jesse Owens' athletic career as well as his time at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany. Harewood told NPR's Fresh Air, "I already had a background in track, so I ran the same events that Jesse did in high school ... though I was a lot slower than Jesse."

The actor also gained a particular understanding of Owens' personal struggle, telling The Washington Post, "I began to appreciate him even more ... and what Jesse Owens achieved in the sacrifices he made." The television film was ultimately a success, winning an Emmy and getting nominated for two more. According to the Post, Harewood, for his part, just hoped the film would draw more attention to the athlete's life.

He's Corporal Eightball in Full Metal Jacket

To date, Harewood's most famous screen role is in Stanley Kubrick's brutal, bleakly funny interpretation of the Vietnam War, "Full Metal Jacket." The auteur told Harewood that he made the film as "his answer to 'Rambo'" (via Short List).

The actor plays Corporal "Eightball," a member of the "Lusthog Squad." Eightball takes his friends' racial slurs in stride, but protests when he's sent to investigate the sniper, as with many Black soldiers assigned more unpleasant assignments during the war (via Time). Once in the open, the ill-fated soldier is shot repeatedly by a sniper in order to lure out the rest of the squad. This results in a slow-motion, prolonged death for poor Eightball.

At a Q&A session in 2018 (via The Ultimate Rabbit), co-star Matthew Modine revealed that Eightball's gruesome death was motivated by Kubrick wanting some (fictional) payback. Harewood had asked for more money because the shoot had gone over schedule by six months. Furious, Kubrick resolved to "kill him" properly on the big screen.

Modine told the audience, "However [many] days were left upon Dorian Harewood's contract, Stanley was going to put in all the bullet hits he could." This meant that Harewood had to lie in the cold for days, as Kubrick loaded him up with exploding blood packs. Still, the actor nevertheless called working with the man "an amazing experience" on The Arsenio Hall Show.

The actor played a crime-fighting inventor on Viper

Dorian Harewood found a second career doing voiceover work during the 1990s, including performances on "Batman: The Animated Series," "Darkwing Duck," and "Gargoyles." But he continued to find regular work in live-action as well, including a stint as a pivotal recurring character on the cult action series "Viper."

"Viper" is set in a fictional near-future California city overrun by crime. Harewood is featured as inventor Julian Wilkes, who is paralyzed during a shoot-out between police and crooks. He creates the titular modified Viper sports car that transforms into an armored weapon. The "Defender" model is used by the task force, while Wilkes and Joe Astor (James McCaffrey) also launch their own private war on crime.

"Viper," despite being funded entirely by Chevy, was canceled after one season at first, but eventually got picked up again in syndication for several more outings (via Driving Line). Harewood appeared mostly in Season 1, but returned to briefly reprise his role for the fourth and final season of the series.

His character appears in several seasons of 7th Heaven

One of Harewood's most prominent television roles is that of Reverend Morgan Hamilton, Eric Camden's (Stephen Collins) close friend and fellow minister, on the long-running WB series "7th Heaven." Harewood would play the character over 10 episodes and seven seasons.

Hamilton is a minister at Trinity Church when the building is burnt down by white supremacists in the first season episode "The Color of God." Hamilton and his family then stay with the Camdens until the Glenoak Community Church offers him help rebuilding. Eric and Annie (Catherine Hicks) try to help Morgan and his wife Patricia (Olivia Brown) get through the situation as well.

Despite the bigotry he faces, Hamilton is a strong, morally principled man who, like Eric, tries to do what's right and advocates for non-violence. This is in keeping with Harewood's approach to roles, as he told Jet in 1979 that he prefers to play "a multilevel human being who happens to be Black."

He's the new Judge Robertson on Bel-Air

After a prolonged period out of the spotlight, Harewood returned to live-action in 2020 with a guest appearance on "Criminal Minds." He then became the second actor to take on a television role once played by Sherman Hemsley.

In 2022, Harewood appeared as the new Judge Robertson on the last two Season 1 episodes of "Bel-Air," Peacock's "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" drama remake. Like the character from the original sitcom, Robertson is an antagonist to Uncle Phil (Adrian Holmes), and he opposes his campaign for District Attorney. Where the original Robertson sets up Will (Jabari Banks) on a false charge, on "Bel-Air," he threatens to reveal the truth about Will's arrest record. Phil officially drops out, which lets Fred Wilkes (Joe Holt) win the office.

It remains to be seen if Phil will take his defeat lying down, or push back against Judge Robertson and Wilkes. Fans will also have to wait and see what will happen if Robertson and Phil clash again, when "Bel-Air" returns in 2023 (via TV Line).